Inside West Brisbane’s Small But Beautiful Homes

Who needs a lot of square footage if you can have a small lot to build a house that’s just as functional as a huge one? Here are three of the smallest houses, yet among the most beautiful homes in Petrie Terrace and Red Hill, and their story. 

Read: New Owner Has Big Plans for Normanby Hotel in Red Hill

Red Hill Tiny House

Photo credit: The University of Queensland

Couple Lara Noble and Andrew Carter, founders of the Tiny House Company, have been living in their tiny home since 2015 with their son Charlie. 

It helped that the couple were both graduates of architecture from the University of Queensland.

In fact, Ms Noble’s philanthropic scholarship opportunities whilst studying at UQ allowed her to expand her interest in micro–housing in Japan and Europe.

With the help of Greg Thornton, their co-founder at the Tiny House Company, the couple built and designed the house themselves.

This beauty, which has been featured in the media several times, is only 18 sqm with a 10 sqm deck. Measuring only 7.5m long and 2.5m wide, this house easily fitted in a friend’s backyard in Red Hill. 

It features a laundry space and a bathroom with a full-size shower. Plus, it has the rooms of a typical home, including a lounge and spaces for dining and entertaining friends.

The best part is it’s built with sustainability in mind. They used a lot of recycled Australian hardwood throughout. They also have a composting toilet, a grey water filtration system and a grease trap. 

23 Belgrave St 

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In Brisbane, a lot with an area less than 450 sqm is considered a small lot. This one, located at 23 Belgrave St Petrie Tce, has a floor size of only 145 sqm and is sitting on a 182 sqm lot. 

But did you know that despite its size, it was on the market  in 2017 for $1.05 million and was listed for rent from 2018 for $820 per week? 

As the listing described it, “good things come in small packages.” It was fully restored and featured vintage oak stairs, high ceilings, French doors, verandas, and deck.

A classic home built in circa 1890, this two-level house features four bedrooms and three bathrooms. There’s enough parking for three cars, with two street access.


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Perched on a 162 sqm block at 36 Sexton St in Petrie Terrace, the house is owned by Alan Newitt who as a master builder himself, constructed the house and carried out all the carpentry work with the help of a close friend.

Its name Karinya, is synonymous to “peaceful home” in Aboriginal terms.

The whole build only took more than a year, but the planning was very careful and precise that there had been around 13 revisions from the original plans.

Designed by Focus Architecture and Mullins Designs, the house appears traditional on the outside but very modern on the inside.

The owners can turn on and off the lighting and open the blinds through the Apple Nero voice control system. They can also monitor the CCTV from their mobiles. The fireplace can be flicked on with a remote control.

Read: Ad Astra Theatre Company Acquires Brisbane Arts Theatre, Plans to Refurbish the Iconic Building

There’s no doubt that Karinya is one of the most beautiful homes ever built in Petrie Terrace. It earned a building industry award in 2019 following a renovation in the same year. It was awarded the Queensland Master Builders award for ‘Best use of small sites.’

Published 19-March-2023

Think Tiny, Live Big in Red Hill

Housing affordability has become a hot topic in Australia right now; and whilst the government thinks of better solutions, some Australians have taken matters into their own hands, specifically in the suburb of Red Hill where a cry for tiny house living has been heard…and granted.

Photo credit: University of Queensland

Neatly tucked away in a garden, Andrew Carter and his partner, Lara Nobel along with their six-month-old baby live in a tiny sanctuary. They are also the directors of the Tiny House Company. The hard-won contentment on the couple’s faces is not hard to miss. The current state of affairs is something they are proud of. Just last year, the couple had a run-in with the Brisbane City Council.


A Little Run-in

Their home, measuring 2.5m x 7.5m and 4.5m in height, built on a trailer, had gotten a complaint from a neighbour, which the council quickly addressed in 2016. According to the council, their home falls under the classification class 1A structure due to its appearance, which also means that the couple must adhere to the building code of Australia.

Photo credit: University of Queensland

Mr Carter and Ms Nobel had three options: apply for a building permit, leave the premises, or file an appeal.

The couple chose to file an appeal to the Queensland Building and Development Dispute Resolution Committee with the help of ESC consulting, and they won. They argued that the tiny house the couple lives in was a registered movable dwelling and shouldn’t be regulated by the Building Act. It should be treated like caravans.

Councillor Jonathan Sri seems to agree with the concept of tiny house saying that tiny houses have a lesser impact compared to the growing number of high-rise apartment developments being submitted to the council today.


Big Plans

Learning from the experience, the couple, now dedicated to promoting tiny house living in Australia, teamed up with builder Greg Thornton and started The Tiny House Company.

They are not the first ones to implement such movement. Tiny Houses Australia was established five years ago by Melbourne-based couple Darren Hughes and Lisa Adams. Today, their Facebook page has garnered 44,000 followers, of which 28,000 are Australians. Their page aims to support aspiring tiny home builders, owners, even associated businesses that support tiny house living.

According to Mr Hughes’ estimate, there are about over 1000 tiny homes being built in the country as more and more people come to the realization that having a home with five bedrooms and several other rooms aren’t really needed to make someone happy.

For now, while the government and other residents slowly accept the concept of tiny house living, tiny home owners continue to live their chosen way of living while they await better national guidelines from the government.